Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ninja running in Fall

I didn't have a chance to do a run on Sat but it's really neat to see the posts about NY and the virtuals. I wish I could have made it but here are some thoughts on fall running. It's my first post on RSC. Thanks so much for the invite, it put a big smile on my face:).

Ok, I give up, it's fall. It was an early start this year and I kept the Indian Summer thing in the back of my head, but today I was rooting around for warmer clothing and put all of my shorts away. I went for a barefoot run last week after a frost and the cold pavement was just too uncomfortable. I couldn't loosen up and the cold ground combined with my tightness just felt like it would be too easy to injure, so I put on my Merrills and continued.

I haven't been running barefoot lately, but I have been running. That's a change for me as the cold usually sends me into a pattern of staying up late watching movies and "not feeling up to (fill in anything active) today". My mom used to say that running in winter felt like flying to her. I remember waking up in fall and winter and she'd just be coming home, sweaty and glowing, full of energy. I grew up in a neighborhood where the white lady running around at 5am in the dark, was hooted at by guys in hoopties who thought she was a hooker. She had some fire in her and would holler at them until they took off. No one tries to pick me up at 5am and it took me a long time to figure out that glow she came back with.

Now I get it. I'm cold at first but within a few minutes of starting my body is doing the furnace, I warm up, find my pace and after that I'm cruising. It's hard to get in the habit of waking up in the dark and going outside in the cold, but it is so totally rewarding. The trick for me is to get up the first time my eyes open. If I start the snooze routine it's over.

The best thing about the fall run is being up during the sun rise. I get to come back to a warm cozy house with my babies waking up. They are full of energy and smiles. They hop out of bed and commence to buzzing about in their happy lively way. There's no delay while they wake up, they just go.

I'm trying to channel that energy. It's funny that my kids and their total aliveness remind me of my mom and hers. Here are some of the tricks I use to get me going.

1. Like I said, get out of bed the first time you open your eyes. Any snoozing leads to more snoozing people, and you know it. You know it when you do it and it feels so good. You'll savor it all the more on the days you get to do it.

2. Have some good running gear for the weather. Not only is it fun to have the gear, it really pays off at the beginning of your run. Some running tights and a neck sleeve not only make you look like a ninja, but start you off warm rather than waiting to warm up.

2.5 Did I mention you get to look like a ninja?

3. Be as excited as my kids are. I have a lot of tips in my writings that are about managing your mindstate. I am totally committed to the idea that if you mimic the physical cues associated with a feeling, you will feel that feeling. Act like you are excited, smile, breathe quickly, open your eyes wide, bounce around a bit.  You will get excited, whether or not you started out that way. I like to think in terms of chronology. Ordinarily something stimulating happens then you smile, you start to breathe faster, etc. If you switch up the order the effect is the same in reverse. This works and is really important!

So to summarize, get out of bed right away, dress up like a ninja, and act like a 4 year old.
Just a great way to start any day!

Good running and good living!



  1. Nice one! especially since I have to do my first borming run in about, er, say 15 years, tomorrow... :-)

  2. So you aren't going to be up at 4:30 running my training runs with me this winter!? ;)

    Nothing like an early mornin run in the snow (still working on barefoot in the snow BTW)

  3. You know, on my longest runs I like being up that early. When I'm done and I'm sitting around I have this thought: "It's 8am and I've already run 20 miles".